North Somerset Council’s latest cost-saving idea revealed

PUBLISHED: 12:06 12 February 2017


A North Somerset Council service which supports some of the district’s most vulnerable families is set to be outsourced in a bid to save money.

The council’s family group conferencing (FGC) service has supported families in the area for more than 13 years and allows relatives to plan and make decisions on behalf of a child who is deemed to be at risk, along with help from social workers.

About 75 per cent of the country’s local authorities commission FGCs for vulnerable children in their area, and North Somerset received 38 referrals to the service during the 2015/16 financial year.

However, the council says the service’s projected overspend during the next financial year is likely to be about £76,000 – meaning outsourcing is ‘necessary’.

The new outsourced contract is likely to be worth £300,000 for three years if it goes ahead, and interested organisations are now being asked to submit bids to the council.

A council spokesman said: “The action was necessary to address as a contribution to the in-year recovery of the adult care overspend, and to ensure all providers within our supporting people department had reached a five per cent reduction against (their) contract, as included as part of the council’s budget last year.”

A council report into the decision said outsourcing the service to an external provider would bring down the cost of employing staff and training new FGC co-ordinators – factors which it said were responsible for this year’s projected overspend.

It also claimed it would ask social care providers for ideas on how to get the most value for money from the service.

North Somerset Council’s executive provisionally agreed to increase council tax bills across the district on Tuesday.

The final idea will need to be confirmed by the full council later this month.

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